Gio Gonzalez is coming off two impressive seasons for the A’s as an innings eating, K machine (at least 200 innings and 171 strikeouts each of the last two years). He’s also won 31 games for a less than elite club in Oakland, and he’s a 26 year old left hander. So of course the A’s are looking to deal him. I get it, the A’s don’t have a lot of options since they are not exactly flush with cash, but what’s the point of having a club if you have to deal exactly the type of players that you should be building around? There is also a growing belief that the A’s and D’backs might work out a deal centered around Trevor Cahill.
Hiroki Kuroda is still looking for a home. It’s hard to tell if the reason he hasn’t signed is because teams fell that his heart really isn’t in it, i.e. that he wants to return to Japan, or if Kuroda is just being super picky about where he’ll sign.
Matt Moore is the best pitching prospect in baseball, a fact I spoke to in my Around the Horn Video from September 23rd (I compared him to Stephen Strasburg). The world saw that potential start to be realized late in the playoffs and the Rays, never one to ignore talent, have taken a big risk that could end up being a huge win for the team. The Rays signed Moore, who has just 9.1 innings of regular season work to his name, to a 5-year, $14 million deal (there are also three option years in the deal that could extend the contract out to $37.5 million over eight years, an a couple of escalator clauses could actually boost the total value up to $40 million). It’s a huge risk given his youth an inexperience, the Rays are saying their prayers that he doesn’t end up turning into Scott Kazmir, but if we’re six years down the road and Moore has been an All-Star four times, it will be a huge win for the club.
The Twins are operating under the assumption that Justin Morneau will be able to return to playing first base next season. Don’t count me in that group. As I said all offseason last year, I had no interest in adding Morneau to my fantasy squad, an unfortunately I was right (he appeared in only 69 games). For the Twins to expect the oft injured one to be handle first base duties is asking too much if you ask me. They’d be better off just sticking him at DH and letting him help the club with his bat.
Carlos Pena is a mere consolation prize for whomever doesn’t add Prince Fielder, but given that there could be a $100 million difference between their contracts, maybe he isn’t that bad a fall back option. Pena’s career batting average is pathetic (.239), an as I’ve written before he’s hit under .230 the last three seasons, but he is a legit power bat. The Cardinals, who now have an opening at first base, are reportedly kicking the tires.
Francisco Rodriguez apparently didn’t like what he was hearing from the marketplace, so he decided to accept the Brewers offer of arbitration. Given that the Brewers aren’t very likely to be pleased about paying a setup man $13 million a year (that’s the estimate of what K-Rod will get in arbitration), it’s hardly a surprise that the Brewers are engaging in talks with multiple teams about the setup man who wants to be a closer.
And finally, the Cubs and Rockies worked out a deal that involved Ian Stewart going to the Cubs along with Casey Weathers for Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu. Colvin has some nice pop, he’s hit 26 homers with 78 RBI and 78 runs in 581 career at-bats, but he really struggled last year hitting just .150 with a .509 OPS in 206 at-bats. The Rockies figure to give him some time in the outfield and at first base. As for Stewart, he’ll be given a chance to compete for the opening at third base with Aramis Ramirez no longer in the mix. A talented hitter with prodigious power, Stewart is a strikeout machine that simply hasn’t been able to figure out big league pitching. Still, he’s only 26 years old, so perhaps a chance to play on a regular basis will allow the former first round draft pick to finally find his footing at the big league level.
By Ray Flowers